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Multi-Channel Selling – eBay or Amazon

May 20th, 2015 by Skip McGrath

Today’s post is a guest post by John Haselden.

Retailers now-a-days can sell on a plethora of marketplaces. Almost every day a new one arrives. Selling hand-made items? Sell them on Etsy. Expanding to an international audience? Try Rakuten. Do you have electronics for sale? Newegg is your new best friend.

These marketplaces may seem to be stealing the show, however, they still don’t overcome the heavy weights – eBay and Amazon.

While the names eBay and Amazon go hand-in-hand, selling on them is actually very different. Today we’ll discuss the types buyers and sellers on each platform. Also, if you want a statistical look at the differences in the two, check out our Amazon vs eBay selling infographic.

Why You Should Sell on Amazon or eBay

With Amazon and eBay you’re reaching a much broader audience than your eCommerce store can. Marketplaces give retailers access to a global audience with the intent to buy.

Also, online marketplaces make it easy to start selling immediately. You don’t have to create your own store, or online app, you just have to sign up and start selling.

Amazon and eBay give merchants the opportunity to start selling, to sell more, and to sell to a larger (and more diverse) audience.

The Key Differences between eBay and Amazon

eBay and Amazon’s origins have helped shaped who they are today. eBay started out as a site for hobbyists to sell their goods. Amazon started out as a book store. However both of these marketplaces have evolved into something much more expansive.

In 2014, eBay earned $17.94 billion dollars, and Amazon earned an astounding $88.99 billion dollars. Now this 5x revenue disparity may seem ridiculous, but let’s think about it.

eBay is only a marketplace. Amazon is much more. Amazon sells its own products, provides its own fulfillment program, and has its own subscription service for streaming movies and TV. This business structure gives Amazon a chance to earn much more revenue.

That being said, Amazon’s user base is still much larger than eBay’s (244 million compared to eBay’s 157 million.).
Another key differentiator is the types of products you find on each marketplace. Generally speaking, eBay is for used items and Amazon is for new. Look at their origins. eBay was as a site for hobbyist looking for specific items, those are usually previously owned or used. Amazon’s foundation is providing an easier, more convenient alternative to shopping in-store.
There aren’t any statistics to back this observation. But, think of your own experiences with each site. If you’re looking for a used, affordably priced item, where do you shop? Probably eBay. If you want a new toy for your kid where would you look? Probably Amazon.

As you can see, even though the names go hand-in-hand, selling on them can be very different.

What to choose? Amazon or eBay.

If you’ve decided to make the jump to selling online, it can be hard to choose where to start, but your decision is undoubtedly coming down to one question. Amazon or eBay?

The easiest place to start is to look at your products and ask yourself, what site would you search for to find your products?
The answer could be Amazon. The answer could be eBay. The answer could be both! If you have the time, it never hurts to try selling on both and see which one performs better.

Still not sure which one is the best marketplaces for you? Take a look at our infographic on eBay vs Amazon for some key statistical differences in the two marketplaces.

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